Video Game Review: Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic
I remember being a child, wanting to go to Thorpe Park and ended up going to a different theme park called Thorpe Park, due to. Instead of ending up in Surrey, we found ourselves in a place called Cleethorpe. From that day, I vowed to create the greatest theme parks in the world – But I was a bit too young, so I played Roller Coaster Tycoon! Now, with the power of smartphones, Roller Coaster Tycoon is on our phones and tables – And no, this isn’t some dumbed down wannabe either..!
|Developer||Origin8 Technologies (Published by Atari, inc)|
|Platforms||iOS, Android, PC(Windows, Mac)|
|Genre||Resource Management, Construction Management
||£5.99 (Android/iOS), £14.99(Steam)
Very quick note before we get into the meat of this review; there isn’t a freemium version of this title. The reason for this is that they wanted to be able to let people play the original, the classic game… And that’s exactly what you get. I’ll explain how the original game works with touch features in the Gameplay section of the review.
We’re skipping the typical story section of the review, as there is no story, other than you having to go through scenarios.
Roller Coaster Tycoon is one of those classic games, where you are required to do a fair bit of micromanagement in order to reach the end goal. As I mentioned above, there’s no story, but instead there is a relatively extensive list of parks, all of which have a different criteria to meet in order to beat the level. Typically, the goals range from having a certain number of visitors to your park, through to raising the value of the park, or your company.
Once you’ve selected a level, you’re given a quick briefing on your objective, before you can continue with the game. Now, first and foremost, the Graphical User Interface (GUI) is pretty much exactly as you may remember if you played it as a kid, with a slight improvement to quality. If you put your finger on the bar at the top of pop-up boxes, you can drag the pop-up around – and you press an x in the upper right hand corner to close them. Tabs are typically listed at the top of the pop-up box. Touch screen works really well with this mechanic, but more on that later.
You have four buttons at the bottom left hand corner; edit terrain, edit paths, create scenery/props and finally create rides. These buttons are the four main functions of the game, as the terrain can affect the rides; paths affect people getting to rides; scenery is… just pretty (though some of it, such as benches, are functional for a happy clientele); and naturally, rides are the main focus in a game about roller coasters.
If you edit terrain, you simply touch the centre of a tile, which allows you to raise or lower it. You can also choose to put water on these blocks, at varying heights. Once you’ve touched a tile, you drag your finger up or down to raise or lower the land/water. You can also drag edges and corners, by being a bit careful with your touch (or zooming really far in) and pressing the edge or corner you’d like to edit.
Scenery is added simply by pressing the create scenery button – But along with scenery, you can have functional signs, allowing you (and your visitors) to see what is where. You can place lights, along with benches. To help reduce litter in your park, you can place bins – and of course, you can place trees and themed decorations, such as pyramids, dinosaurs, pirate ships and much more.
When you buy a ride, you sometimes get two options: To create a custom ride, or to buy a premade ride. If you buy a premade ride, it’s just a case of being sure you can place it on ground that won’t mess with the structure of the ride, as there’s an upper limit as to how high you can place a ride support. If you make a custom ride, typically it’s a case of creating a platform to start the ride off, then creating a long loop of sorts. In both cases, you need an entrance and an exit to the ride, which must be connected to the park via paths.
Some scenarios will allow you to set the price of the park, but a lot of the earlier scenarios are locked at the entry fee they’re already at. However, throughout the game, you can edit the prices of the rides in order to earn more profit. Along with rides, you can set down food and drinks, toilets and shops, all of which can have their prices amended. If you place down two of the same shop, for instance, you can set the price throughout the park – This can be useful if you have a particularly large park.
As your park rolls along, you get may occasionally have to deal with a ride breaking down. For this, you can hire an engineer. You may find queues are excessively long – Which means you could hire and entertainer. You will find litter in your parks, which means you need handymen – and finally, especially in larger parks, people may start breaking your benches, or tipping your bins – For these gross acts of vandalism, you can hire security guards.
As a final few quick points; you also get access to advertising, such as giving out coupons for beloved rides or even the park itself. You can research different types of rides/attractions, allowing for more variety in your park. You can take out (and repay) loans to get you through the early periods of the game. You can manage your staff, hire some and fire them, manage their properties. You can pick people up and drop them in water and see them drown..!
Okay, that last one was a bit dark.
As you may expect with the title, this is the original Rollercoaster Tycoon. As such, graphically, it’s not hugely improved. In fact, it’s barely improved at all which is part of the charm of the title. Truth be told, it still looks pretty good and some of the graphics are nicely smoothed out, but overall, the game looks the same!
Again part of the joy of this title is the similarities to the original. If you’ve ever played the original, then listening to this mobile version will bring a wave of nostalgia. For those of you who’ve never played the original Roller Coaster Tycoon, then the sound is pretty much what you’d expect from a theme park. Fun, happy sounds, people chattering and… A pretty consistent beeping noise. That beeping noise is just your notifications, however – Hugely important to keep your eyes on these.
I’ve had so much fun replaying this classic on the mobile, however if I were to suggest anything, it’s that the game would definitely work better on a tablet than on a smartphone. With this said, I’m able to play it quite happily on my phone, it’s just that the extra space would really be quite beneficial. Having said that, the touch controls are really intuitive and well done, so overall I think they’re solid.
If you’ve got a wave of nostalgia brewing, then you may want to pick this title up. It’s not too expensive and, better yet, there are no ads! It’s not dumbed down; it’s the original game with some slight revamps and with DLC packs! If you have a moment and a few quid in the bank, go buy this – It’s a great micro-management experience! In the meantime, let us know what you thought in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.